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For our final trio prompt of the year, write about any topic you wish, but make sure your post features a bookcase, something cracked, and a song you love.

Christmas again. How many times has it come around, and its nearness is always a surprise? Every year I make vows that I will do “this” earlier, or not leave “that” until the last minute, and yet something always intervenes to make keeping that promise impossible. Perhaps last-minute things are just a part of Christmas, to be accepted.

For a brief space of time, I have the house all to myself. I use it to put up Christmas cards around the archway into the dining room, as well as a garland of artificial greenery with little pine cones and red berries. It’s nice to look at the cards again and again, and think about the friends or family who sent them; some I haven’t seen for years, others live nearby.

The CD I’ve been listening to just ended, so I climb down from my step stool and change it to one by Mannaheim Steamroller that I play year after year. That accomplished, I move back to my card-hanging, stepping up onto the stool again. The album starts out with a fast-paced “Deck the Halls.” and I find it amusing that that’s just what I’m doing. Then, one of my favorites, “Bring a Torch, Jeannette Isabella”, which I heard for the first time only a few years ago — don’t know how I missed it before, but the Steamroller’s version has a distinctive acoustic sound.

Over the sound of music, I hear the doorbell. I hurry to climb down, and rushing through the living room, bump into a bookcase, sending my favorite crystal vase on its side, not only spilling water everywhere, but breaking as it rolls onto the floor dumping its flowers. I remember the doorbell, and continue swiftly, as I rub my bruised hip, to find out who’s interrupting me and setting off this mayhem.

I pull open the door, and there’s my neighbor bringing over a jar of her wonderful sugar and spice pecans, wishing me a merry Christmas. I thank her sincerely, and ask her in for coffee, but she has other deliveries to make and waves a goodbye.

When I return to the living room, I begin cleaning up the mess, first picking up the flowers and then the pieces of glass, a gift from my favorite boss when I got married. The memories of my job and how much I enjoyed working, drift back, pleasant, but not as rewarding as the family life I am living now. But it’s sad to lose something that reminds me of the past — and I continue picking up the shards of crystal.

Soon the task is completed, the floor washed and swept thoroughly so none of us get pieces of glass stuck in our bare feet — kids always seems to be running around in bare feet even in the winter.

Mannaheim’s rocking version of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” is playing as I hear the front door open and a whoosh of cold air bring happy voices as my husband and three kids return from Christmas shopping. Wonder what gifts they picked out for me this year?

I hug them all, and my husband compliments me on the decorations I’ve just finished. No sense of loss remains; this is my present life and a happy one at that.

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